RE-NEW. RE-PURPOSE. RE-FINISH. RE-STORE.
Kansas City Shop teaches restoration skills STORY AND PHOTOS BY RACHEL FOSTER
cool breeze blows through the air of Kansas City, a sign that the holidays are on their way. For Chrysy Huff, owner of Restoration Emporium, this means her store is full of shoppers. Restoration Emporium is one of the boutiques in the West Bottoms Business District that brings a renewed meaning to vintage décor. Restoration Emporium, locally known as RE, has quickly become a recognized business by local shoppers in the Kansas City area. Established in the West Bottoms during January 2012, it was the seventh store to start restoring the district and homes with fresh interior decorating ideas. RE is now one of the few original 2012 businesses amongst today’s 20 stores. Chrysy Huff says the first draw to this shopping experience is the buildings, which have maintained the original architecture and the wooden beams to preserve an organic and old-fashioned impression. Chrysy and her husband, Jeff Huff, run their business on four principles: restore, renew, refinish and repurpose. For them, restoring old furniture and décor, then selling
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it, isn’t enough. A huge part of the RE business model is teaching its guests how to incorporate the principles in their homes through classes offered by RE. “Even if we did this for 100 years, we still can only do so much ourselves,” Chrysy Huff explains. “I think it’s good for people. It’s healthy, it feels good. It’s good for stress.” Jeff Huff has played an important role throughout the entire growth of RE. He began by helping customers carry their new furniture and goods to their cars, calling himself “lead junk hunk.” Now as the shop’s family has grown and they have many helping hands working, Jeff says he sees himself as a vision caster, spending time planning the look of the shop and ensuring the store is giving customers what they are hoping to find. “We spend a lot of energy watching trends and maintaining relevance in the store,” Jeff Huff says. “We want to engage customers on a lot of different levels. All of the West Bottom stores take this seriously.” In the building that RE calls home, history seems to live not only within the vintage items being sold, but throughout the structure itself, too. The building, when first built during